Skills for the Future - opening new doors

The Skills for the Future training programme is an exciting and inspiring project that is funded through The Heritage Lottery Fund.

The Skills for the Future programme has been set up across the Country to provide individuals with the practical heritage skills to be able to confidently seek employment in the sector. The wider benefits to conservation include increased capacity and the long term strengthening of the conservation work force. Initially, Dorset Wildlife Trust  had funding for 4 trainees per year over a 3 year programme. However the programme has been so successful that Dorset Wildlife Trust recruited 8 trainees in 2013 and a further 8 for February 2014.

The 2014 team

Eight trainees were selected for February 2014 after a day of interviews and tasks in December 2013. Since February they have added an impressive array of qualifications and experience to their CVs. These include (amongst many others): 

  • Chainsaw & clearance saw
  • First Aid, H&S and manual handling
  • Safe use of Pestcides
  • Care & handling of livestock

The trainees also work alongside Dorset Wildlife Trust staff and volunteers, gaining experience and training consolidation as they tackle each new challenge.

Nikki Hesketh Roberts was one of the 2012 trainees. She spent a number of years in an office environment but wanted to pursue a career in conservation. After volunteering with the Dorset Wildlife Trust and gaining additional experience in the Amazon she successfully gained a place on the Skills for the Future Programme. Nikki has embarked on a career as a ranger now she has completed her training.

 “During my year as a trainee I enjoyed working in the countryside, seeing lots of different habitats and species and developing my identification skills” 

 “I also liked putting the chainsaw and brushcutter training into practice, working with volunteers and corporate groups and giving talks and guided walks”

 “The Skills for the Future programme  provided training and opportunities for me that I otherwise would not have been able to access”

Training opportunities for volunteers

The Skills for the Future training programme has an additional benefit for volunteers wishing to gains skills in conservation matters. Particularly with regards to training delivered internally by our staff experts - there will be opportunities to increase capacity by offering additional places for volunteers to join the trainees for a day. Examples of such sessions are survey techniques, butterfly transects, hedgelaying, fencing and many others.  Check our online events guide for details of these sessions as and when they are planned.

Vacancies and volunteer training places will also be placed through the Conservation Jobs volunteer section.

More information

For further information on the programme, please contact the Skills for the Future Manager on 01305 264620 or email

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Steve explains the use of longworth traps to John one of the 2011 trainees.


The 2012 Trainees: Jake, James, Nikkii and Victoria


 Watch a video of the 2011 Trainees Jess and Megan on their last day.HLF logo black


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